After devastating losses in recent memory, it is painstakingly clear that the Los Angeles Lakers needs its main star, LeBron James, back on the court.
On January 4, 2019, partly cloudy sky simmering at a cool 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the Los Angeles Lakers allowed a struggling New York Knicks team to hamper its way to its tenth win.
With it, Lakers starters Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, the supposed “future stars” of the team, combined for 11 TO, more than the five assists they dined in. With their sub-par performances, including a Lonzo turnover that essentially ended the game for the Lakers, NBA Twitter immediately outraged.
Luke Walton has also been given much to blame for the loss. Fans immediately took to Twitter to complain, with #FireLukeWalton trending in the spotlight. It is clearer now, perhaps as much as ever, that LeBron James, the man who has committed to three (and perhaps plus one) years, is undoubtedly needed on the basketball floor.
Look no further than the games after LeBron James‘ strained his groin on Christmas against the Warriors. The Lakers blew a 15 deficit in the fourth quarter against the Kings, leading to a one-point win, on which Lonzo Ball blamed isolation basketball for allowing them to have such a comeback.
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Even before the Knicks stormed through Staples Center, the Lakers were dealt a blow as second-year budding star Kyle Kuzma suffered a back contusion against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lakers free agent acquisition Rajon Rondo is most likely out for a month, relegating more duties to Ball and Ingram. The Lake Show audition hasn’t exactly worked out since LeBron was injured.
Even with players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo rising to the NBA pantheon, James Harden having a historic year of his own, LeBron James is still, by far, the greatest player on Earth, and his impact on this Lakers team has shown itself in the 1-4 stretch that he was out for. Kyle Kuzma, for as good as he’s been since adjusting to the support role, doesn’t have the influence on the court that someone as LeBron James.
James demands that physical presence whenever he steps on the floor. His 3-point shot percentage is better than every other qualifier on his team other than Josh Hart, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Lance Stephenson. He may have lost a step on defense due to his wanting to age gracefully and attention-to-detail on offense, but the affluence of “I’m being guarded by LeBron” is still present to whoever he is guarding.
The LeBron-less Lakers look to snap out of their two-game losing streak against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves on Sunday, January 6.
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